[ 2006-09-25 09:46 ]
In a combative
interview on "Fox News Sunday," former President Clinton defended his
handling of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden, saying he tried to have
bin Laden killed and was attacked for his efforts by the same people who
now criticize him for not doing enough.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton listens to
progress reports at the conclusion of the
Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 22,
"That's the difference in me and some, including all of the
right-wingers who are attacking me now," Clinton said in the interview.
"They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try, they did not
Clinton accused host Chris Wallace of a "conservative hit job" and
asked: "I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you
asked, 'Why didn't you do anything about the Cole?' I want to know how many people you
asked, 'Why did you fire Dick Clarke?'"
Wallace said Sunday he was surprised by Clinton's "conspiratorial view"
of "a very non-confrontational question, 'Did you do enough to connect the
dots and go after Al Qaida?'"
"All I did was ask him a question, and I think it was a legitimate news
question. I was surprised that he would conjure up that this was a hit
job," Wallace said in a telephone interview.
Clinton said he "worked hard" to try to kill bin Laden.
"We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him
than anybody's gotten since," he said.
He told Wallace, "And you got that little smirk on your face and you
think you're so clever, but I had responsibility for trying to protect
this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it, but I
did try and I did everything I thought I responsibly could."
The interview was taped Friday during Clinton's three-day Global